Homeworkers become teamworkers whilst getting down and dirty in Newport

Legal & General homeworkers from every corner of the UK got together recently to make a care home in Caerleon a lovelier place – and emerged as muddy mates at the end of their long hard day.

It would be hard to think up a better way of getting homeworkers to be team workers – and doing something positive for the community at the same time.

- Mark Williams,
Team Development Manager
Volunteers from L&G’s Intermediary Division descended on Newport from as far afield as Newcastle and Northern Ireland to take part in a Team Challenge event coordinated by Business in the Community Cymru. 

Many of the 27 volunteers were meeting each other for the first time as they split into five teams, each containing a mix of people from across the division and the UK, and got down to work sprucing up Abbeyfield's Eleanor Hodson House care home.  Volunteering gave L&G the perfect way to bring teams spread across the country together to develop their own communication and team working skills.

My job is very pressurised but I feel that volunteering in an area outside my usual sphere of work is an excellent escape and opportunity to give something back. I hope that seeing us do great work like this will encourage others to do the same.

- Amanda Thomas,
Key Relationship Manager, L&G, based in Chester
Mark Williams, Team Development Manager at L&G, explained that it could often be challenging for homeworkers to operate as a team because of the geographic distance between them and their colleagues. 

“Homeworkers can occasionally feel isolated as they don’t benefit from the camaraderie that comes naturally from working side by side with colleagues from day to day." he said, but went on: Meeting up in person, putting a face to the name and working as a team helped bring them together.  Tackling a community project together is a perfect way of getting all staff to feel included.  We felt that the day really built bridges, led to the creation of new friendships and sustained existing friendships among the team”. 

Mark, along with his fellow team leader Key Relationship Manager Jason Howells, felt that, even though many of the volunteers don’t work together on a regular basis, the team pulled together and ran with their brief.

I was looking forward to having a bit of fun today, and it really has been fun. My colleagues and I work extremely hard in the office and, whilst this is hard work too, it’s a refreshing change to be toiling outside.

- Bob Adams,
Key Relationship Manager, L&G, based in Kent
The volunteers painted fences, planted flower beds, decorated the care home's day room and improved its staff area. Their work was very much appreciated by the home's staff, with its General Manager, Phillip Adams saying, "The staff and residents enjoyed having the team around all day and the work completed has made a real difference and taken a lot of pressure off our maintenance team”.

Volunteers not only got to meet to talk about something other than insurance but also learnt new gardening and decorating skills, enjoying the physical graft that had taken them away from their desk jobs for the day.  The day also exercised their ability to work as one team and to operate within very tight deadlines, and everyone was proud of the team’s achievements.

Why volunteer?

Volunteering is one of the most enduring ways businesses can support communities in Wales – and also creates opportunities to develop skills that employees can take back into their business. Last year, nearly 2,000 employees from 70 different companies across Wales gave their time, energy, skill and passion to support more than 140,000 community groups, local charities and schools.  Employees taking part in Give & Gain Day last year in Wales overwhelmingly said that the time they spent volunteering was rewarded by the benefits of the experience (96%); 77% of employees said they developed their own skills and 82% of those who took part said they felt more committed to their employer as a result.

This excellent collaboration between Legal & General homeworkers and Abbeyfield’s Eleanor Hodson House nursing home illustrates perfectly how volunteering benefits both business and the community.  Volunteering is a fantastic team-building exercise which also brings practical benefits to communities.  What comes through very strongly on this occasion is how volunteering helped to create strong bonds between remote workers - skills and experiences they can take back to the office, for the benefit of the business”  - Matt Appleby, Director of Business in the Community Cymru.

Companies interested in finding out more about the benefits of employee volunteering can get in contact with Jill Salter who leads BITC Cymru’s Community Impact team (jill.salter@bitc.org.uk / 029 2078 0058).